There are many different applications of hydraulic equipment in modern industrial, construction and agricultural processes. Hydraulic cylinders are used in the power steering and lift systems of modern equipment. With time, the cylinder seals start to leak the hydraulic oil a little, necessitating repairs. Before contacting a professional, you can do some troubleshooting to see if you can repair the cylinder yourself. 

Reasons for hydraulic cylinder failure

The hydraulic cylinder system consists of a hydraulic unit pump that powers the entire mechanism; therefore, if it fails, the entire hydraulic system will not operate. The hydraulic pump is likely to fail due to faulty cylinder piston rings and seals. These can cause oil spillage when the hydraulic cylinder is in operation.

Before beginning repairs

Since there are many different types of hydraulic cylinders for different equipment, it is important to identify the correct repair and rebuild kit for the type of cylinder that your machine has. The cylinder has its part numbers stamped somewhere outside the cylinder or on the end cap. You can use these numbers to get the correct replacement kit. You can also identify the cylinder brand and visit a local dealership for new seals, rings, cylinder rod and lubrication.

The process of breaking down and repairing the cylinder can be undertaken in the following steps.

Hydraulic cylinder disassembly: This stage involves detaching the cylinder from the machine in order to disassemble it. Remove the piston from the cylinder by unlocking the bolts and loosening the input valves.

Inspection of the cylinder: Once the cylinder is disassembled, it should be visually inspected for any faulty and damaged parts. Check the piston rod for any cracking at all the cross sections and look out for any pitting or lack of uniformity that could indicate the rod is bent and faulty and should be replaced. Also look out for any broken seals and hydraulic hoses that could cause oil spillage.

Replacement and assembly: Many hydraulic cylinder rebuild kits will provide a diagram for correct installation of the parts. Have a look at this diagram before replacing the faulty parts.  You can then proceed to lubricate and replace the new seals, rings and cylinder rod to the hydraulic cylinder.  The input valves should be properly lubricated for easy insertion. The piston rod should be properly tightened using a spanner to ensure that it does not loosen during operation.

Reattachment of cylinder: Once the new parts have been replaced, the cylinder should be reattached to the machine. Ensure that you tighten the cylinder bolts and join the yokes to the appropriate places on the equipment. Also ensure that you lubricate the shaft onto which you reattach the cylinder for smooth operation.

Hydraulic cylinder repair can be an easy process when one has an understanding of the cylinder's components. However, if you find the process complicated, you can always get hydraulic cylinder repair services from a professional.